HIV prevalence on the rise in Ga West

The Ga West Municipal Deputy Director of Nursing Service, Ms Leonora Botchway, says the municipality has recorded a 1.7 per cent increase in HIV prevalence over the past three years.

This is higher than the 3.5 per cent cases recorded in the Greater Accra Region within the same period.

She, therefore, called for increased HIV sensitization and education in the Ga West Municipality to stem the tide.

Ms Botchway was speaking at the inception meeting on HIV Prevention and Reproductive Health Education Project organised by the International Child Advocacy Programme (ICDP) at Amasaman in the Ga West Municipality.

The project, funded by the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), will take place in two municipalities: Akuapim South in the Eastern Region and Ga West in the Greater Accra Region.

Ms Botchway said 40 per cent of the people in the municipality who tested positive for HIV were adolescents, adding, “When you are frequently infected with STIs [sexually transmitted diseases, you become receptive to HIV.”

She also noted that the Ghana Health Service (GHS) was mandated to perform HIV tests on every pregnant woman or adolescent who visited the hospital to determine their HIV status.

“In cases where the mother is HIV positive, but the baby is not, we treat the baby to keep it from becoming infected with the virus,” she explained.

UNESCO Country Representative to Ghana, Mr Abdourahamane Diallo, said the Ga West Municipality had high youthful population, and, thus, has an advantage to benefit from demographic dividend.

However, he said the current data on HIV and pregnancy in the municipality showed that young people were largely impregnated and infected with the deadly virus.

“Current data indicates that these promising young people are challenged with increasing rates of HIV infections and early pregnancies, which affect their productive potentials,” Mr Diallo stated.

Considering this, he said, UNESCO partnered with ICDP to support adolescents and young people with quality health education that equipped them with the required knowledge, skills, and positive attitude.

The Assemblyman for Sarpeiman Electoral Area, Mr Gamel Abubakar, was of the view that issues of increased teenage pregnancies and the spread of HIV among adolescents should be tackled from the root.

He said parents were to be blamed for the problem for their lack of control over their children but added that some pupils in basic schools had outgrown the basic school age.

He said most of the pupils tend to fend for themselves by engaging in “Okada” and other menial work, adding, “Engage parents to take responsibility for the wellbeing of their wards.”

Source: GNA

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